By Chuck Reherman
Gage Dyer has always set his sights on making the 2024 US Olympic team since he has been competing in his high school years.
He has a chance to accomplish that goal four years sooner.
Dyer a junior at the University of Oklahoma from Yukon, had a stellar showing in the 2020 Winter Cup Challenge held this past weekend in Las Vegas, NV.
Dyer won the floor exercise in the weekend event that featured current collegiate as well as past and current members of the USMNT, and had a fifth place finish in the all-around event.
Along with competing in two more meets and then the regionals and a chance for an NCAA title, Dyer will compete in the U.S. Nationals in June for a spot on the Olympic team.
It was Dyer’s first time competing in the Winter Cup.
“It was really a cool experience,” Dyer said. “I have wanted to compete ever since I started gymnastics. Getting to compete against the top gymnasts in the country, both collegiate and those that have been or on the national team is just a cool experience.
“I am looking forward now to competing for a spot on the national team and a spot in the Olympics,” he said. “But, we still have two meets, then the regionals and the NCAA championships to compete in first and I am looking forward to competing in those as well.”
Dyer topped off his stellar weekend in Las Vegas with a first-place performance on floor exercise with a two-day score of 29.050. Dyer had a score of 14.650 on the second day after a 14.400 from day one.
The junior claimed top-eight finishes in four events, tying for fourth place on vault (28.650), seventh place on parallel bars (27.050) and eighth on high bar (26.550). Dyer finished in fifth place of the two-day all-around standings with a 161.900.
Dyer had his best finishes in two of his three favorite events, the floor and the vault. And going into the floor on the second day he had the confidence of knowing he could win.
“After I raised my hand (to start his routine), I felt confident I could win the event,” he said. “I knew if I did what I had done in practice, that I could come out on top.
“I felt very confident about competing in the Winter Cup,” he said. “There were a lot of NCAA guys as well as Olympians and how I finished has given me a lot more confidence about competing in the next two meets and in the NCAA’s.”
Dyer, a junior has had to step up as a team leader with a young Sooners team and that has played into his success this year.
“I feel my season has gone really well so far. I knew coming in to the season and that we lost a lot of people last year that I would have to be one of the leaders. That has really helped my confidence and the way I have gone out and competed.”